Trying out the Sycip JJJBars on my 44 Bikes Ute Tourer Mar 4, 2018

Bicycles. They’re a work in progress, especially ones that are derivative of a particular activity which in itself is evolving. Take bikepacking and touring for example. It seems just about every month, a company makes a new product which therein makes the act of touring eaiser or at least more enjoyable. When I first began talks with Kris Henry of 44 Bikes for this rigid mountain tourer, which I’ve come to call my “Ute” – an Aussie term, short for a utility vehicle – I had a vision for what touring meant and means to me. Leaving pavement and accessing trail, both in double and single track variety, means a fully loaded bike needs to be stable, comfortable and still maneuverable. Since this bikes inception, I’ve been sold on the Jones Bar, mostly due to the amazing leverage, riding position and varying riding positions. The thing, however, that didn’t work so well for me was the very thing that makes the Jones so unique: the hoop design and lack of rise. Also, the Jones bar has proven to be problematic with bikepacking and touring bags, which was slightly evident on my Death Valley tour. That Fabio’s Chest wanted to sag a bit too much with that setup.

Check out more below.

Sure, Jones makes bars without the hoop, but what I finally came to the realization is that I just needed more rise and less reach. Now, don’t get me wrong, for long days, the previous version of this bike rules, in every way. Minus the ability to run bikepacking bags and bags like the Fabio’s Chest. While it wasn’t an impossibility, it did make these bags more difficult. While touring with a rack and basket worked great, it also made the bike less maneuverable and again, the hoop blocked access to the basket. In short: every single version of this bike’s setup had limitations and compromises, pushing me to the continuous pursuit of tweaking its build kit.

Well, I have to say, the latest version has been quite the welcomed change. So far, I’ve been using this bike as an around-towner, with a few inner-city singletrack trips thrown into the day-to-day errands and casual sunset spins into Griffith Park. The extra rise makes up for the slightly narrower overall width and the lack of a hoop makes for a more “normal” looking cockpit area. While I loved the Jones bar, they definitely take a bit to get used to, visually. At any rate, no setup is perfect, but I feel like over the last few weeks, much like a true tour, I’m slowly getting there.

The JJJ Bar is made from heat-treated aluminum, is 660mm wide, with a 20mm rise. It comes in silver or black with a 31.8 clamp. Sycip markets it as the “mountain bike” version of the J and JJ bar line.

You can order the JJJ Bar direct from Sycip, or through your local shop, via Sim Works USA.

Oh yeah, about that messy cable setup… I’m open to suggestions… ;-)

  • EH

    “Messy” cables are just part of a bike. You could probably shorten them a bit but I feel like the desire to “clean up” cables that everyone seems to have is misguided. Just accept them…not everything needs to be sleek and simple-looking. I feel the same way about internal cable routing. Anytime this weird aesthetic obsession with not seeing any cables gets in the way of function and ease of maintenance, I think that is a step backward. Same thing with the 2000s fixie culture obsession with cutting off braze-ons. That stuff is part of the bike and has it’s own beauty, if you can appreciate it!

    • Riley Webb

      I agree so much with this. I think the often unchecked will-to-perfection that exists in the bike world can be unhealthily obsessive. I appreciate clean lines and colour-coordinated perfection as much as the next person (perhaps even more…), but no matter how diligently you solve one such “issue”, another will soon rear its head! Desire wants nothing but itself, and I think if one can find beauty in the imperfect, then that’s a wonderful thing. This is as much a self-reminder as anything!

    • Makes sense. Danke!

  • rocketman

    they look nice. What is the rear sweep? I just picked up some Hunter Smooth Moves which have 20 degrees sweep to try.

    • I just put the Smooth Move bars on my Stinner –
      Game changer! – these have much more sweep. Almost identical to the Jones sweep.

      • macatarere

        Smooth Move have a nice sweep, you might like Rick’s riser stem ;). For sweep in carbon I’m using Davis Carver’s MyTi Carbon, fine for out of the saddle SS riding, the width is decieving, comfortable and reasonably priced. http://carverbikes.com/parts/cockpit/myti-carbon-handlebar/

  • macatarere

    A center punch, a drill, a grommet, a cable port! Ask your frame builder first ;).

    • I just put the Smooth Move bars on my Stinner –
      Game changer! – these have much more sweep. Almost identical to the Jones sweep.

  • Adam Leddin

    Is that a custom engraved Paul stem?!?

    • Yep. A tattoo artist that’s friends with the Paul team did it. Paul and Travis gifted it to me. I was and still am, very moved by it.

      • Adam Leddin

        Totally awesome.

  • Aaron Best

    For some reason I thought the Ute name came from the Native American tribe of the same name. Which the state of Utah is named after.

  • Lyle Wiens

    A single strip of electrical tape or gorilla tape run along the inside of the fork leg with the wiring underneath. It keeps a low profile and keeps the wiring from snagging on anything. Stuff the excess into the bottom of the steer tube or zip tie it up like you have. Messy cables should not be part of a bike. As a framebuilder, I pay careful attention to cable routing. If done incorrectly, it interferes with the aesthetic of the bike or even worse, gets in the way of the rider. Gotta keep those cables tidy!

  • I would use shrink tube (or spaghetti tubing) to run the light cable together with the brakehousing – holds better than tape and is not so exposed.

    • Yeah but when I camp with the bike I change the light mounting position and have to redo the cabling. I guess I’m still playing with positioning…

      • Surely a lower mounting position would be the most practical and not cause any issues with bar types, loads and uses? I have battery lights on one bike and dynamo on the other. Neither gets used for camping/trail or otherwise off-road use (so I admit a lack of experience here that you have) but they both have they’re front lights mounted low on the fork blade because that feels the best for illumination for ease of use and cleanest setup. I’ve never really understood the typical high mount positions like this.

      • I would run a permanent wire up the fork to the crown, then use some of Supernova’s gold connectors to allow the light to disconnect from this wire. When you want to move the light to the handlebar, use an additional length of wire with the same connectors as an extension cord.

        Personally I prefer a single run of wire up the inside of the fork leg, secured either with zip ties or electrical tape. While it’s unlikely, I feel that a wire coiled around the fork leg is exposed to being damaged by trailside/camp spot rocks/trees/whatever. Coiled wire often ends up looking frumpy as the coils don’t stay evenly spaced with time.

  • They’re city bars. That’s what I see. And surprise, they’re still the best style for putting around the city. 🙃 kidding aside, yea that cabling is atrocious. But if you rock it, it’s all good.

    • Matthew J

      After buying a Large Fabio’s Chest I went from drop bars to (the similar to Sysip J) Jitensha Bars on my light touring bike. They work fine for city riding sure, but so far have been very happy with them for extended weekend trips.

      When and if I get the time, can’t see any reason not to use that bike for an extended ride.

      • How someone uses them isn’t much important. I’m not interested in getting into a deep discussion there. I mean, however you use them as long as they work, it’s all good right? My comment, while somewhat in jest, was just to highlight that the shape and style are basically city bars. Varying degrees in rise and backsweep aside, they’re just city bars. And they’re very versital. Which is why the basic design has been around for a good 100+ years. I find it entertaining to see something old being reworked and made modern again while so many people have no idea how old certain designs are. Case in point, the ‘new’ upright stem from analog in another post.

        Call them something new, give them a modernised look, mount them on new frame styles, and then say they work great for the very use they’ve been designed for a century ago. I love it. 😆

        • Matthew J

          Jitensha bars were apparently modeled on the specific bar Cinelli made for Pope John Paul II. It was called Priest rather than Pope bar when Cinelli offered for sale to the public.

          http://velobase.com/ViewComponent.aspx?id=0c0ba4b9-db6f-4336-b846-14ba8d3b6f3c

          The dimensions are close but with some (and in my opinion better) differences from the North Road Bar. The North Road Bar is a design named for the London based North Road Cycling Club. The NRCC in turn has been around since 1885.

          So yes, an old design. But then of course the human body (nor the basic shape of the bicycle) has not changed all that much since 1885.

          • I know the basic history. I lived in the UK for three years and learned a lot about the history of cycling while living there. I spent a lot of time riding the modern equivalent of the classic ‘Brighton Road’ ride, and I met more than once the good fellow who runs oldbike.eu all that history aside, these style of bars, like northroad are all today more or less ‘city bars’ because they are most commonly found on city, Dutch, cruisers, roadsters, porteurs, etc. I love it. I find it entertaining. It’s incredible knowing things like eccentric bottom brackets, in frame suspension, stepped gearing, brak away frames all go back the 1880s and 90s. And you’re right there’s a reason so much hasn’t changed in any way other than name, and appearance, just to be reintroduced. Just like the double triangle frame. Cycling hasn’t really changed and neither have we. Just an interesting phenomenon.

          • Tim Guarente

            Yeah, the human body, like bicycles, have mostly just gotten a little thicker in the middle.

    • Sebastian Burnell

      Klugscheisser….(-;

      • Haha. I had to google that. Not sure I genuinely fit that since my comment was really just taking the piss, but I’ll take it on. Cheers mate.

  • dan scheie

    You are going to be running the Fabio’s Chest bag with these bars? Will there be enough space above the headlamp? Very interested to see how it will come together!

    And as far as bags for Jones Loop bars, they do exist! Mine is from Carsick Designs and it fits a heck of a lot of stuff! https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a0e419c4660c7d43cc78f5ea83393af1ef11e1aa00ade0f3015554eea1076833.jpg

  • Sebastian Burnell

    Is there a 25.4 version? Soma osprey ist pretty close, isn`t it? (with 710mm may be too wide). Need a replacement on my mb-1 mtb tourer (carradice camper on front)

    • Pascal K

      Have a look at the Nitto B354 heron bars. They are kinda similar.

  • spencer harding

    660? c’mon, thats how wide drops are now. Even the jones 710 feels too damn small, looks like ill have to make my own swept 800+mm bar

  • One Eyed z

    I recently put the JJJ bar on my Kona Unit X and I dig it. I’ve been sitting on the bar for a year or more trying it on different bikes looking for where I wanted it to be. Now the problem is that I’m not visually pleased with the Unit X (something about that head tube angle and way kicked out fork isn’t agreeing with me) so the frame set is going up for sale and it will be replaced with a new Surly Karate Monkey (out of stock at QBP until May!)
    Always a work in progress.